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Russia-Japan contacts sacrificed to Tokyo’s forced sanctions on Russia — Lavrov

January 21, 2015, 16:17 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Ccontacts at various levels were discontinued due to the fact that Japan was forced to join the anti-Russian sanctions, the foreign minister says

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© ITAR-TASS/Yuri Smityuk

MOSCOW, January 21. /TASS/. Russian-Japanese contacts at various levels have been discontinued because Tokyo was forced to follow the West’s anti-Russian sanctions, Russian Foreign Minister said on Wednesday.

“We value the relationship with Japan, the Japanese people, it’s our neighbour,” said the minister. “We have a complicated history, but very good prospects. Businesses of the two countries have been demonstrating their mutual interest in the implementation of large, useful projects. We have lots of things that unite us.”

“It’s sad that in the past year these relations have been frozen, above all due to the fact that Japan was forced to follow the anti-Russian sanctions, although maybe not in such an aggressive manner like some other Western powers,” said Lavrov.

“Our contacts at various levels were discontinued due to the fact that Japan was forced to join the anti-Russian ranks,” the minister said. According to him, the two countries’ presidents have met on the sidelines of multilateral events. “But in regard to the exchange of visits, this topic has been suspended, as was suspended the long agreed upon Japanese foreign minister’s visit to Russia,” Lavrov said. “It was supposed to take place in April and has never occurred.”

“We take it all in our stride,” said the Russian foreign minister. “Although we would like, of course, to resume the work of the intergovernmental commission, the ‘two plus two’ format, we also would be happy to receive the Japanese foreign minister. But this does not depend on us.”

Speaking about the possibility of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Tokyo, Lavrov said that “an invitation is required for the visit, as we are polite people.” “Basically, it was extended to President Putin, he accepted it in principle,” Lavrov said. “Once Tokyo supplements its invitation to Moscow with the specific date, we will respond.”

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